The young today may not have heard
The Big Chris Barber Band,
But years ago, you’d pass the word
To reach a one night stand.
By Twenty Twelve he’d been on tour
For more than sixty years
And all that while, most keen to lure
Fans’ loyalty and cheer.
The band has changed a lot since then;
Musicians came and went.
It must have totalled thirty men
And every one well sent.
Their vocalist would let it rip,
Ottilie Patterson, by name.
She held her audience in her grip
And made them glad they came.
Jim Bray on bass, Ron Bowden, drums,
Monty Sunshine, clarinet.
Those guys would make you snap your thumbs
And not go home just yet.
Lonnie Donegan strummed the banjo,
With verve and spirits free.
It was jazz and not the tango,
That suited you and me.
Barber’s hot trombone would stump it;
Fifty four years together,
He and Pat Halcox on trumpet,
Tapped out much shoe leather!
To lead a jazz band all that time,
Shows stamina and grit.
At eighty one he’s doing fine
And one outstanding Brit.